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Broadcast TV ad spend falls $34bn worldwide as brands back streaming platforms

Advertising spend on broadcast television (excluding political ads) fell by $34bn worldwide in 2020, according to new research from WARC, the international marketing intelligence service.

WARC’s latest report, Global Advertising Trends: Next Generation TV, reveals that advertiser-funded video-on-demand (AVOD) services – including platforms such as Hulu, Peacock and YouTube – saw brand investment rise by 9.9% to a total of $26.7bn. Further, projections from Digital TV Research show that the AVOD market is set to double to a value of $54bn by 2025.

Brand investment in AVOD platforms is set to treble in value in the US over the next five years, to a total of $24.2bn, with China rising to $9.2bn, Japan to $3.2bn, and the UK to $2.8bn. The trend mirrors the evolving viewing habits of consumers: one in four viewers is spending more time with streamed video content at the expense of linear TV in the US (26%) and UK (27%), per AudienceProject surveying, while one in three Americans now only streams video content.

 Two in five consumers worldwide now have a next gen TV – one that is able to connect to the internet either directly (i.e. smart TVs) or via an intermediary device such as a set top box, USB or games console (i.e. connected TVs, or CTVs). Roku is the preferred CTV device among consumers, accounting for almost a third (31%) of all viewing time on next gen TVs as monitored by Conviva. Amazon Fire accounts for a fifth, with games consoles taking 12%.

TV sets accounted for three-quarters (75%) of all streamed video time in Q4 2020, across CTVs (49%), smart TVs (17%) and games consoles (9%). Mobiles (10%), desktop computers (10%) and tablets (5%) accounted for the remaining time.

Commenting on the findings, James McDonald, Head of Data Content, WARC, and author of the research, says: “Consumers have never before had such a varied choice when it comes to how and where they watch video content, and the distinction between channels continues to blur – one in three Americans now regards YouTube and TV as analogous. Brands are taking note, with investment data showing a clear pivot to AVOD platforms last year.

“Like linear before it, next gen TV is demonstrating the core traits of offering mass reach for resonant creative in brand safe environments. However, unlike with its ancestor, fraud now poses a very real and present threat to advertising trade, especially among unverified vendors.”

Also included within the latest edition of Global Ad Trends is a landmark study of almost 16m ads aired on Australian TV between September 2019 and December 2020, monitored by Adgile.

A sample report of WARC’s Global Ad Trends: Next Generation TV is available to download here. The full report is available to WARC Data subscribers.